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Bradenton Beach pier reconstruction to begin June 2

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Bradenton Beach building official Steve Gilbert, ZNS Engineering construction engineer Karen Wilson, ZNS president Leonard Najjar and Police Chief Sam Speciale discuss a timeline for the request for proposal for the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier. Islander Photo: Mark Young

If all goes according to plan, the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier will begin June 2.

    Not a lot has gone according to plans when it comes to the Bradenton Beach pier, but city officials and representatives of ZNS Engineering concluded a Feb. 19 pier team meeting confident a new timetable could be met.

    If the project begins as scheduled, it will be about 10 months from the original completion target date of August 2013.

    While those delays resulted in a $1 million matching-fund partnership with Manatee County, easing the financial worries of a cash-strapped Bradenton Beach, officials have been on edge to get the project started.

    About seven weeks before the Feb. 19 meeting at Bradenton Beach City Hall, Mayor Bill Shearon set a six-week deadline to have the request for proposal in front of the commission for approval, which is needed to begin the bidding process.

    The joint public meeting with ZNS Engineering was scheduled to get the final details of the RFP completed.

    ZNS presented a model RFP to the pier team and the first task was to make sure the language matches the city’s needs.

    Determining what body would be in charge of dealing with possible legalities involving a bid protest was left to the pier team for recommendation, followed by presentation to the city commission.

    Implementing a performance bond received a lot of discussion, with city officials agreeing to establish a bond of 120 percent beyond the total project bid.

    The performance bond gives the city more control of the contractor’s work during the project, which led to a discussion of change orders.

    Change orders are common during a large construction project, according to pier team facilitator Police Chief Sam Speciale, but they also can get out of control — especially if no system of quality control is in place.

    “We had a lot of issues when the restaurant was first built,” said Speciale. “There were a lot of change orders and they were getting approved without anyone knowing about it.”

    A change order takes place when a situation occurs that requires where added costs for unforeseen reasons.

    ZNS construction engineer manager Karen Wilson said they are unavoidable, but the more control and detail that is put into the RFP will stem the amount of change orders.

    Speciale suggested all change orders go through him. He would then disseminate the information to the pier team, which can then increase its meeting frequency once the project begins.

    Wilson said it’s typical to reserve 20 percent of the project’s overall budget for change orders, “but that’s more of an in-house thing.”

    Shearon said he would feel comfortable authorizing the pier team $5,000 for change orders in increments.

    For the planning phase, city officials tweaked some mandatory items in the proposal.

    An additional 4,800 square feet of decking from the outdoor dining area of the restaurant to the pier restrooms was left as a bid option beyond the 9,700 square feet planned for reconstruction.

    What will no longer be optional is the pier color. It will be constructed of a light gray composite decking. Water lines to new fishing stations, and 21 pilings in addition to the 151 that support the pier also were made mandatory in the bid.

    The 21 extra pilings will extend into Sarasota Bay from the floating dock adjacent to the pier. The pilings will form a protective barrier to prevent damage from boats breaking loose from the nearby anchorage.

    Commissioner Jack Clarke asked for a detailed process to the June 1 start date.

    ZNS Engineering president Leonard Najjar said it would be about a five-step process.

    The RFP is the first step, but has yet to be approved by the city commission. A special meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26.

    Once the RFP and the advertising language has been approved, bidders will have two weeks to respond to two weeks of advertising, then attend a pre-bid conference and then have two more weeks to submit a bid.

    Najjar said bids would be due around the middle of April, then a week to rate the bids, a recommendation from ZNS by April 25, review by the pier team April 30, leaving the city commission’s May meeting for final approval.

    “After approval, it’s about two weeks minimum for contract negotiations,” said Najjar. “So we are going to put June 2 as a start date.”

    Because work will begin on the first day of the 2014 hurricane season, Wilson said part of the bid package will have to include a hurricane action plan.

    The timetable also depends on the city’s choice for a lighting company to conclude its solar design specs and submit that to ZNS to include in the final plans.

    Najjar said he cannot complete the plans without the lighting designs, which are now well overdue.

        Shearon said if Beacon Products could not meet the city’s deadline, he would recommend hiring another company, but that could lead to a delay in the RFP, which could lead to a delay in the proposed start date.

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